SNL disses Sac: It wasn’t exactly the most original insult, but then again, none of us got to hear it anyway. When the folks at Saturday Night Live called us “Sucramento” on network television earlier this month, it was part of a tirade against cities that had refused to air the show because it was hosted by Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton. Turns out the program was cleared to air in 85 percent of the country, but our own KCRA-TV was one of the 32 NBC affiliates that decided not to air the episode. Station manager Elliott Troshinsky could not be reached at press time, but other stations say they pulled the plug for fear that the Federal Communications Commission would force them to give equal time to all the other presidential candidates. Strangely, the FCC had no such concern about the Governator campaigning on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, and neither did KCRA. In any case, Sucramento did get off easier than Des Moines, Iowa, which, in addition to being called “Snoozeville, USA,” was encouraged by announcer Don Pardo to perform an interesting sex act.
Wesson’s big nightmare: Some people still think it’s just plain strange that a movie star really is the governor. But it’s not a dream, and there’s no waking up. And just how hard is it to negotiate a budget deal with an action hero? Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson, for one, still seems to be struggling with a bit of disbelief. After the lower house passed the fiscal plan late last Thursday night, Wesson got a laugh out of reporters and aides at an impromptu press conference, where he described how the deal came together—and added a strange postscript. “We spent three-and-a-half hours last night with the governor. We don’t leave his office until close to 2 o’clock,” Wesson said. “I go home, take my clothes off, relax, turn on the TV, and what’s on? True Lies. The governor is diving into the ocean, and then some things are blowing up around him. I’m there all by myself. All I can do is freakin’ laugh.”
State Worker Blues: Not being a critic, Bites is blissfully unqualified to comment on the musical, um, skills of Sacramento’s John “Happy Jack” Hastings. But we did get a laugh from his new song, “State Worker Blues,” which he debuted at a recent food-drive talent show and has posted on his own Web site (www.stateworkerblues.com). Hastings, who’s been a state worker for 25 years and a character for many more, gets off a few good lines, including the verse: “We got a new boss with a million-dollar smile / He’s gonna pump us up but it might take awhile / He’s got a magic bullet to cure this mess / Straight from Hollywood, it’s special effects.” But the best line from this self-described “Poet of the Pencil Pushers, Bard of the Bean Counters, Cubicle Cowboy and King of the Red Tape Rodeo” comes after the song ends, when Hastings can be heard muttering, “Close enough for government work.”
Boxer rebellion: It was with great delight that Bites received an e-mail from our old friends at the Recall Davis organization stating that their leader, Howard Kaloogian, has decided to “take the battle forward and attempt to recall Barbara Boxer.” Kaloogian, who kept the recall effort going until the millionaires and movie stars took over, most recently surfaced as chair of the Sacramento-based Defend Reagan Committee. In fact, his op-ed on the subject appeared in our last issue. Kaloogian announced that he would be running against “California’s extremist U.S. senator,” who he says “has become nothing more than a bitter and hapless cog in the system.” (Hey, wait, that’s Bites’ job.) Kaloogian says he has “only 90 days to raise over $2 million if we are to win the Republican primary.” Who knows? Maybe Darrell Issa will fork over the cash one more time.